We’re at an ice rink – that’s a good Christmas start, and KELLIE MARTIN from ER is skating! We loved her in the Emergency Room, even though Carter was mean to her, but we know she’s good, so it must follow that this film will be too.
Next, here’s a Christmas tree shop, it’s called TIM’S TREES, which is a good Christmas tree shop name. There are a lot of Christmas lights and people carrying presents and giant candy canes, but it does look like it was filmed in April. These are a few of my favourite things.
Kathy is here! She rides a bike and runs a bike shop called Dream Cycle – AND MADE HER FIRST BATCH OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES LAST NIGHT – “you’re the best boss ever” says her employee, shoving them into his face.
I am quite excited by a Christmas lady who runs a bicycle shop. This feels like a significant step forward for Christmas ladies, but she does make cookies though, so we shall see. She’s gazing at a photo of a man who we must presume is her late husband, and business in the cycle shop is slow.
Here’s her friend though – and her friend is definitely up to something – as she takes her out during her lunch break.
SHE HAS TAKEN HER TO TIM’S TREES TO BUY A TREE!
Kathy does not want a tree.
Her friend does.
Enter Tim’s Trees himself.
Kathy has gone to the gift shop, and shouts “HELLO” but there is no answer. She sets a little angel ornament upright and picks up a very ugly candle and sniffs it as a man walks in and also shouts, “CAN I GET YOUR OPINION?”, making her jump. Why is everyone shouting?
These two will be married by the time this hour is out, you mark my words.
And they set right about moving things along by giving each other a potted history of their lives – he talks about his business (boring), and she talks about the death of her husband but a month after the opening of his beloved cycle shop.
Tim’s Trees manoeuvres the conversation back to himself, I felt a little quickly but hey, no one likes a downer, eh Tim?
By the way, her friend might be called Gina, or Tina, or maybe even Jenna? It’s hard to tell, but what I CAN tell you is that I honestly think we could finish this film in the next 10 minutes or so, so obvious is the plot.
BUT BACK TO IT.
Was Kathy FLIRTING with TIM’S TREES? Gina or Tina or maybe Jenna thinks so, but Kathy assures her it was just a business chat. By the way, if all of this has happened in Kathy’s lunch break, no wonder her business is going down the pan.
Kathy doesn’t want to date Tim’s Trees though, it’s not even been a year since Scott died, god why won’t everyone just leave her alone?
Tim’s Trees pops to his sister’s house, and she tries to get him to stay for dinner, but he sees through her kind offer – she’s just trying to set him up with LADIES, apparently. Meanwhile, chez Kathy, she’s picking up a voicemail from her dad: “your mum and I would love to have you for Christmas but if you’re too busy, we understand” – ohhhhh film, why are you doing this? You’re trying to make me believe she’s a too-busy Christmas lady! You’re mixing your metaphors! There are busy Christmas lady films, but this is a sad Christmas lady film. Come on, you’re better than that.
Ice rink again! Kathy skates and GUESS WHO IS ALSO HERE TO SKATE? Yes, it’s Tim’s Trees. “Why no tree this year?”, he asks.
She explains it’s because tree ornaments were a big thing between her and Scott, and if I were Tim’s Trees, I’d be apologising for prying, not that I would have pried in the first place. SHE DOESN’T WANT A TREE MATE, LEAVE IT.
Even though she is not a baker, she is making so many Christmas cookies. Could this be a sign? Well, I’m not going to lie to you, yes it could. Her friend is in fact called Jenna, and she is helping her bake. Jenna is very keen that Kathy move on, “Scott wouldn’t want you sitting in the dark”, she says. Kathy replies, “I could have all the lights on and I would still be alone”, which is very sad.
Jenna goes and gets Tim to take a tree round to Kathy’s, which seems a bit much. Kathy doesn’t want to accept the tree, but she just leaves it in the window in the dark.
This film isn’t much fun.
And Kathy’s accountant is here to make things even worse – she says the shop is toast.
Tim’s Trees, meanwhile, has a queue out the door. And people are being rude to Tim’s Trees because they don’t want to wait in the queue. Kathy turns up and starts giving out cookies to people waiting, which makes everyone so happy! A man even asks if he can buy a batch – maybe she should SELL THEM?
Back home, another massive flashing sign pointing towards a career in cookies: she finds what I believe we are to infer is a childhood drawing of a bakery with the words “Kathy’s Cok Shop’ and I did laugh, because I am very mature.
Tim’s Trees is now skating past Kathy at the ice rink and asking her to help him deliver trees, even though she says she has to go to work, further evidence that managing a bicycle shop may not be her vocation in life. Then we have what is clearly meant to be a touching scene where a customer shows Kathy the ornament she bought her husband for their first Christmas together. Meh.
The problem with this film is it is TOO obvious, and it gives me no pleasure to say that.
Kathy goes home and of course, she decides that she WILL decorate her tree after all.
Tim’s Trees has 23 voicemails on his machine (not an exaggeration, he actually says this) asking for Kathy’s cookies though, so it’s really full steam ahead for the cookie business. During this chat, Kathy and Tim have a heart-to-heart about her late husband Scott and his stupid ex Rebecca, who decided after three years that she “didn’t know him”, ugh, sorry Tim, maybe I judged you a bit harshly here.
Now you might be thinking, how can this man make a living 12 months of the year out of what is really a seasonal business? You WEREN’T thinking that? Hmm.
But Tim’s Trees has a trick up his sleeve – he’s JUST BOUGHT A CHRISTMAS TREE FARM, and he is taking Kathy there. He’s going to make this into a year-round Christmas thing.
Yeah, you guessed it, they’re kissing, and Kathy’s really thinking she might sell the bike shop and go into the year-round Christmas thing game.
BUT THEN OK FILM, YOU GOT ME, I DID NOT SEE THIS ONE COMING.
Someone turns up at Tim’s Trees after closing, and it’s REBECCA THE EX. She says she has no right to barge back into his life and you know what Rebecca, no you don’t – but she misses him. And you can tell he’s torn. NAH MATE.
He’s now being weird and standoffish with Kathy (who, by the way, has sold the bloody bike shop to take up with him), and understandably, she is confused, and the ornament he bought her has broken, so that’s SYMBOLIC. But she’s sold the cycle shop. She’s committed to a life of Christmas trees all year round.
Kathy takes Jenna up to show her the all year-round Christmas place, but then when they get back to Tim’s Trees – GUESS WHAT? – they see Tim and Rebecca arm-in-arm, and of course, Kathy is devastated.
But what she doesn’t know is, HE’S TELLING REBECCA TO DO ONE!
There is now a good honest upfront confrontation, no dicking around, Tim says “I told Rebecca to do one”, but Kathy’s gone. She says “maybe if we’d met at Easter, or on the Fourth of July, but I can’t do this at Christmas, it means too much to me”, and I think there’s a truth in this – how we build Christmas up and put it on a pedestal and we really shouldn’t. How much pressure we put on ourselves to have Christmas be perfect.
(There’s a subplot here with a woman who runs a cookie empire, it’s not that great)
And now Kathy is at home. She’s just received a Christmas ornament in the post from Scott, which as you can imagine, has freaked her TF out because he’s been dead for a year – but she sees it as a sign from him to RUN TO TIM after all.
But it’s Christmas Eve, so he’s not in his shop, but then they do find one another really rather easily and they kiss and make up and that’s it.
PHEW. Well, that wasn’t one of our usual offerings, which is a lesson to me not to be sucked in by a great one-liner on the programme guide.
The “will they, won’t they” element of this film was crap, because it was too obvious that they would. I did think that Kellie Martin made a great job of her character, though I kind of liked Jenna best (two Jenna films in a row as well!) as she was spiky, not just a 2D foil for Kathy. Tim off of Tim’s Trees was OK? The story did seem plausible? And there were some definite Christmas elements? It just felt like it was missing some warmth and joy, if I am 100% honest, but I don’t want to criticise, because 2020 is bad enough. Anyway. On to the next Christmas movie hit!